Towards the end of our trip in Vietnam, after spending weeks getting to know the wonders of its nature, the fast pace of its cities and the chill atmosphere of its beaches we were still craving for one more adventure in this country that had already given so much to us.

Yen Phu is a village full of life despite its small size.

We didn’t have to think about it for long, since Duara Travels village homestays, where we had already stayed in Tanzania, were also available in three local villages in Vietnam. Our village experience in Kizimkazi in Zanzibar was so unique, that this could not be a bad choice for our last days in Vietnam. So thanks to Duara we got to travel to Yen Phu village near Hanoi, which became our home for the following three days.


Village life and learning a new language

Yen Phu is a village full of life despite its small size. From morning to late night there is always someone who wants to chat with us even without a common language. It won’t get lonely here, especially if you don’t mind interaction with a little language barrier.

Our local contact Dom spoke English however and during our bus ride together told us everything there is to know about the past and present of this village of farmers and artisans. With the family we could easily communicate with Google Translate and body language and replace words with a smile when needed. With the kids we could play games and do other things which did not require a common language.

When we arrived to our host family, we were welcomed with a delicious meal. The facilities in this home exceeded our expectations and were probably the best during our time in Vietnam. The house was just built, the furniture were new and we got our own room with a bedroom. Although the weather was hot and we had traditional hard beds, it was comfortable to relax in our own peace.

Our local contact Dom told us everything there is to know about the past and present of this village of farmers and artisans.


Cup of tea, anyone?

We spent the following days going around the neighborhood and drinking lots of tea. Whether we entered a shop or someone’s home, we were always invited to have a cup of tea with the owners. It felt more like a rule than an exception, and we did not complain.

In addition to enjoying multiple cups of tea we got to see local farmers at work, admire artisans’ masterpieces and of course giggle with the kids in the village. We also received a couple invites to sing karaoke and we were amazed by how big of a thing karaoke is for these families despite their down-to-earth lifestyle. Woah!


Yen Phu as an experience

There are no must dos in Yen Phu. Time and simplicity of life is what the village has in store for the visitor. One should come to Yen Phu to experience the atmosphere, not to do a bunch of stuff. It’s a great starting spot for getting to know Vietnam and its people.

Just like any other corner of the world, Vietnam is becoming more and more popular all the time. Untouched and authentic places are harder to find and the impact of tourism seems to reach even the most isolated regions. Western travellers are often seen solely as a source of money and genuine encounters rarely happen.

For this reason normal villages like Yen Phu are important places for a traveller hungry for local culture. They are at their best for people in the need of discovering safe destinations easily but who want to avoid crowds caused by peer recommendations on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet.

We like what Duara Travels offers and want to support this way of travelling in the future as well.

Thank you Duara and thank you Yen Phu. It has been a pleasure to meet you.


Story and photos by Palapalloa. The original story and other stories from Their trip to Vietnam can be found on THeir blog Palapalloa (in Finnish). Translation of this story by Johanna from Duara.